Exploring France’s sunniest city – Sanary-sur-Mer
Nestled halfway between St. Tropez and Marseille, Sanary-sur-Mer, France plays the role of the idyllic Provencal retreat to perfection. The palm-lined harbor holds a flotilla of brightly painted traditional pointus (fishing boats), back-dropped by pastel houses and a Romanesque watchtower. Fishermen still peddle their catch directly from their boats each morning, with the daily market outside the town hall providing the additional necessities for our delicious home-cooked dinner in our apartment on the Ship. The half-dozen durade fish that we bought from a fishermen had just been pulled out of his fishing net! He was gracious and cleaned and filleted the fish for us; they were delicious!
Sailing into the harbor of Sanary-sur-Mer, the Gothic Revival church, Eglise Saint Nazaire’s bell tower dominates the skyline
Walking along the shops fronting the harbor late in the day, we came across a wedding in the Eglese Saint Nazaire; it was entertaining to watch everyone throw rice as the bride and groom exited the church and to see the locals celebrating in town.
From the inner harbor we hiked up and over a hill about 1 mile (1.6 km) to the overlook atop Plage du Portissol, a large crescent-shaped stretch of sand that is very popular with families – our grandsons loved it.
Before an afternoon of swimming and building sand castles on the beach, we had a delicious seafood lunch with our family sitting under umbrellas at O Petit Monde on the southern end of Plage du Portissol (Portissol Beach).
We learned that Sanury-sur-Mer is probably the sunniest place in France, with an average of only 61 days of rain, mostly in the winter, which is comparable to Sicily. Sanary-sur-Mer is also known as the birthplace of modern diving, for it was here that Jacques Cousteau, Phillipe Taillez and Frederic Dumas tested and perfected the aqua-lung conceived by Cousteau and Emile Gagnon.